Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Influence of conservation tillage and cover crops on soil moisture and cotton leaf temperature

Authors
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 4, 2005
Publication Date: January 21, 2005
Citation: Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2005. Influence of conservation tillage and cover crops on soil moisture and cotton leaf temperature. In: Richter, D.F., editor. Proceedings of the National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 2558-2561.

Interpretive Summary: Soil compaction can reduce cotton yields by restricting root development. This condition can be partially avoided by maintaining or improving soil organic matter content. Many soils in central Alabama have hard pans close to the soil surface, which is intensified by low soil organic matter contents. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate four conservation tillage systems (no tillage, fall paratill, spring paratill, and spring strip tillage) and three winter cover crops (no cover, rye, and wheat). These systems have the potential to increase soil organic matter content with time and improve profitability. Soil moisture was monitored to a depth of 12 inches every 15 minutes during the growing season. Cotton leaf temperature was determined to assess plant water stress. First year results show that cover crops increased soil moisture content and reduced leaf temperature, which translated into increased lint yields when compared with the no cover treatment.

Technical Abstract: Soil compaction can reduce cotton yields by restricting root development necessary for nutrient and water uptake. This condition can be partially avoided by maintaining or improving soil organic matter content. Many soils in central Alabama have hard pans within the top 12 inches of soil, intensified by low organic matter contents. A field experiment was started in fall 2003 to evaluate a factorial treatment combination of conservation tillage systems (no tillage, fall paratill, spring paratill, and spring strip tillage) and winter cover crops (no cover, rye, and wheat) that might increase organic matter content and soil moisture availability, reduce soil compaction, while improving cotton profitability. Soil moisture was monitored to a depth of 12 inches every 15 minutes during the growing season. Cotton leaf temperature was determined in the uppermost fully extended leaf with an infra-red thermometer five times during the fruiting period. First year results show that cover crops increased soil moisture content and reduced leaf temperature, which translated into increased lint yields when compared with the no cover treatment.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page